Historical Details


Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 12/18/2020


by Annabelle Hoblit

The Hoblit family is one of the earlier ones of America.It was still under the rule of King George of England and much of it was a vast wilderness when the Hoblit name appears in its re­cords.

Johannes Michael Hoblit came to America from Germany in 1732.   He landed in Pennsylvania, and later resided in Kentucky.  His family may have known Daniel Boone there as where they lived was Boone country.

He married Anna Katrina Van Veigle ca. 1770. Ten children was born to this union.    David Hoblit was one of these and his decendants are the people who live in Wyoming.

Johannes Michael served in the Re­ volutionary War as a "Soldier of the Revolution in the Continental Line," and a "Ranger of the Frontier."   His trade was that of a potter.

As so many of the early settlers, the movement of the families was west­ ward, through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska to Wyoming.   The Hoblit family of Illinois were very good friends of Abraham Lincoln. John Hoblit married Millicent Stewart, a first cousin of W.H. Seward, Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State.

Melvin Hoblit was born in Winterset, Iowa, and came with his parents, David Hoblit #2 to Keya Paha County, Nebraska where they homesteaded. He married Mary Wiley and they raised a family of seven children: James, Bernice, Mazie, Morton, Gordon, Graydon and Geraldine.

His occupation was that of a farmer.  They lived on the farm in Nebraska until 1937 when they moved to Wyoming. Several of his children had made their home here. He worked at the C & H Refinery and on the ranch of his son James. They lived in Lusk the remainder of their lives, excepting for a short interlude when Mary became ill and they returned to Nebraska to the home of Mazie. She passed away at Bassett in 1948 and he at Lusk in 1949. Their Golden Wedding was celebrated at the Hoblit Ranch in June of 1946.

James Hoblit was born at Brocksburg, Nebraska, as were all the children of the Melvin Hoblit family. He attended country school there; later he went to Sioux City, Iowa to the home of his grandparents, the David Hoblits, for more schooling. Before coming to Wyoming he worked for the Standard Oil Refinery at Whiting, Indiana. Lewis Lee's ranch at Keeline was his first job in Wyoming in 1915. World War I came along and he went to the service from Keeline. He served in the Signal Corp.

Emma Wagner of Keeline and James were married in Upton, Wyoming.She was the daughter of Ragna Sorensen who came to America from Oslo, Norway and married Ernest Wagner in Chicago, Illinois.   They had two daughters; Emma and Ruth who married Vern Hulbert of Keeline. Ernest Wagner died.

Later Ragna married Frank Smith and they homesteaded south of Keeline near Flat Top. James and Emma lived in Upton and Osage where he was employed in the oil fields. One daughter Donabelle Lorraine was born to them.

Oil in one form or another was to be of interest throughout his life. He worked in the places mentioned before, also in Salt Creek and Lance Creek oil fields.  Places to stay in the area were so difficult to find that the rooms were slept in, in shifts. The magnitude of the situation can per­haps be appreciated by the fact that there were ten thousand people in the town of Lusk at one time. When they began to live in Lance Creek they resided in a tent. He worked for the Ohio Oil Company later known as the Marathon Oil Company.

The C & H Refinery was established in 1933 by a partnership with Roy Chamberlain. Crude was delivered both by pipe line and trucks furnished by the Ohio Oil Company from Lance Creek. The refinery supplied crude oil to Wheatland, the Silver Tip Refinery south of Torrington, Chadron, Crawford, Terry Carpenter, Scottsbluff, Nebr. and Hot Springs, S.D.; as well as the finished products to the people to the area.  Many 20-hour days were worked.

Roy sold his interest to James in 1936. The refinery was operated by the Hoblit family until 1974 when it was sold. The crude oil was bought from the same source, the Marathon Oil Company, as long as the family owned the business.

All projects for Niobrara County and Lusk were of great interest to James. He was very generous with his support of them and of the people here.

James purchased the Billy Reynolds ranch, known as Newton Meadows in early days. The John McGuire ranch was also acquired.

The Reynolds house was built in the late 1800s by John Shippen. It is made of grout and lived in by the Hoblits today. The ranch was a great pleasure to him and he was happiest when he could be there.

Emma died in 1940. He continued to live on the ranch and his parents resided there also. He married Annabelle Lore and they made the ranch their home until his death. The ranch continues to operate by the Hoblits.

Donabelle married Clifford Hollon.

They have three children, James, Heidi and Holli. James in an optometrist. He married Jane Nordgren and three children were born to them; Ann and twins Amy and Emily. Heidi married John Schutterle; they have a son Robbie.  All live in Laramie with the exception of Holli who works for a television station in Billings, Montana. Clifford works for the University of Wyoming. The Hollons had the Frontier Lumber Company for many years in Lusk.

Bernice Hoblit married Charles Kabler. They resided in Casper. Both are buried in the Lusk Cemetary. Two more of the Hoblit children are Mazie, who married Dr. Clayton Wicker. She is buried at Mills, Nebraska. Morton married Victoria Picott, he is buried at Martin, South Dakota.

Gordon (Bill) Hoblit came to Wyoming in 1926. The Ohio Oil Company built a gas plant at Lance Creek; Gordon helped with the construction. He worked for the Ohio Oil Company in Lance Creek and McFadden, Wyoming. He served in the navy and was in the Merchant Marines in World War II. A
partnership was formed with his brother James on the ranch. It was stocked with cattle and sheep at different times. He married Annabelle Lore Hoblit and they live on the Hoblit Ranch.

    Graydon (Bud) worked for the C.C.C.s camp and helped with the construction of the Fort Peck dam in Montana; he worked in the oil fields for Manning and Brown drilling Company and for John Hill on windchargers, before owning his own business, "Bud's Hamburger Shop" in Lusk.  He went to work for the C & H Refinery where he was still­ man and later manager for a number of years. He is employed at the refinery at the present time. His family consists of his wife Mary Roberts Hoblit and four daughters. Peggy is married to Vince Zimmer, they have three children and live in Missoula, Montana, where he is a physical education teacher and football coach. Linda is married to Ray Powell; they live in Casper. Janice is married to Dale Hytrek; they live on a ranch in Niobrara County and have a daughter, Tomi and a son, Toby. Vicky works and lives in Denver, Colorado.

    Geraldine came to Wyoming in 1938. She married James Smith and lived on the old Runser Ranch south of Keeline until 1973 when they moved to Lusk.  They had one son, Lindsey Jay, who lives on the ranch with his family. They are Robyn, Rachel, Merri, Sara and Jimmie. His wife Vicki Wilson was from Iowa.


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    Related/Linked Records

    Record Type Name
    Obituary Hoblit, Emma (09/11/1896 - 08/13/1940) View Record
    Obituary Hoblit, James (01/12/1897 - 04/28/1959) View Record
    Obituary Hoblit, Annabelle (12/03/1910 - 01/09/1996) View Record